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More than $400 million in road damage from heavy rains

Prime Minister Andrew Holness and NWA Communication Manager Stephen Shaw
 
Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Tuesday announced that the estimated damage to Jamaica's road infrastructure, caused by last week's heavy rains, stands at just over $400 million. 
 
Mr. Holness, who was speaking in the House of Representatives, noted that the parishes of Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine, St. Thomas, Portland and St. Mary were most affected by the flood rains.
 
"Our assessment is that 69 roads were badly affected by landslides, mud flows, down trees and inundation, which rendered some communities inaccessible and some marooned," he disclosed.  
 
The Prime Minister said the initial damage assessment estimate by the National Works Agency is "somewhere in the region of J$409 million" - a figure he said was not as significant compared to other damage estimates in the past. 
 
As it relates to the government's response to the damage caused by the Tropical Cyclone, Mr. Holness said $1.4 billion has been approved in the constituency based mitigation and clean-up programme set to get underway next month.
 
Some $22 million will be allocated to each constituency to undertake works including road rehabilitation, debushing, drain cleaning and garbage collection.
 
Additionally, Cabinet has approved a further $330 million, of which $5 million will be allocated to each Member of Parliament to assist constituents with minor roof, windows and siding repairs.
 
The National Works Agency has said one road remains impassable from last week's torrential rainfall.
 
The Bethel to Richmond Vale road in St. Thomas, which had been reduced to single lane traffic due to a breakaway in a previous weather event, was severed after the embankment gave way during the two days of heavy rainfall.
 
NWA Communication Manager Stephen Shaw said there is no timeline for when the road will be repaired as the agency must wait for funds to be allocated. 
 
But Mr. Shaw said road patching and rehabilitation will be undertaken along main roads which were eroded. 
 
"We do intend to treat with these or the worst affected sections of the roads as soon as we are in a position to put a programme together, which is something that we are discussing internally, he said Tuesday on the Morning Agenda on Power 106.   


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